The research system needs speedy and rigorous communication channels working in tandem, says Gregory Gordon
The debate around the merits of preprints versus journal articles began long before 2020. The past three years, though, have transformed the picture, as the research community voted with its feet and showed that both methods of communication are vital for the future of research.
Preprints—an author’s own write-up of results and analysis that have not been peer-reviewed—had long been in favour in specific fields such as physics and economics. The pandemic saw their use across disciplines increase vastly, fuelled by demand for rapid and open dissemination of research. These papers accelerated understanding of the virus, and ultimately the development of vaccines and treatments.